"It's really no big deal," Hayes said from his home in Jacksonville, Fla. "I've been denied so long that I don't think about it anymore. I qualified for it big time years ago, and I'm basically angry about it.
"I won a gold medal representing this country, but I've gotten more recognition around the world than I have in my own backyard."
Owner Jerry Jones has said Hayes is at the top of his list of candidates to add to the Ring of Honor. Hayes said Jones has not contacted him.
Hayes caught 371 passes for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns in his 11-year career. His speed led to the creation of zone defenses.
Hayes has had off-the-field issues. He served 10 months in federal prison on drug charges.
"I don't want to hear about the negative, and I don't want to talk about it," he said. "The focus should be on my accomplishments on the field and what I brought to the Cowboys and the fans in the stadium," Hayes said. "I would be appreciative because of the fans."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said tight end David LaFleur, who practiced for the second consecutive day, will play Thursday against St. Louis.
LaFleur has been hampered by a pelvic bone irritation, a sprain at the joint where the pelvic bones meet. It is a painful injury, but Jones said the club's doctors have said it can still heal while he plays.
The Cowboys are expected to keep four tight ends on their roster because of LaFleur's tenuous health.
The Cowboys' offensive and defensive starters are expected to play about two series. Linebacker Barron Wortham (knee) and quarterback Randall Cunningham (shoulder bursitis) are questionable.
Dallas claimed former Oakland tight end Chris Fontenot (6-4, 250 pounds) off waivers, and owner Jerry Jones said he will play against St. Louis.
To make room, Jones said the Cowboys will release quarterback Paul Justin on Thursday.